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Interview with 'The Barefoot Bandit'

South-West, UK 6-piece The Barefoot Bandit return with the striking new single ‘Criminal Damage’, released at the same time as the bands new album Hello Welcome. Blending elements of reggae, dub, electronica and even punk rock and world music the band have built a strong and loyal fan base, as well as a growing hype and are set to take things to the next level with the release of the new album.

With the band heading to Southampton THIS FRIDAY for a show at The Attic we thought it would be a perfect time to sit down with them for a chat!

Hi Laurie, Thanks for chatting to us today, Introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the band?

Hi, I'm Laurie. I sing and play guitar in The Barefoot Bandit.

Tell us a little about your band, how you got together and the story behind the name if there is one it is an interesting name!

We are a 6 piece band based in South-west UK mixing genres such as reggae, dub, punk and world music. We formed the band in 2010 performing in local clubs and pubs.

I came up with the name whilst coming back from a trip to France. I soon discovered that a real person in the US was branded 'The Barefoot Bandit' after committing crimes whilst wearing no shoes. We've had many questions in the past about if there was any relation but really, it's just a coincidence. I suppose the real reason behind the name is that we did start performing with no footwear but these days we prefer to wear something on our feet. The band was a 3 piece when it started but these days we usually perform as a 6.

Tell us a bit about your latest single, what’s the story behind the song?

Criminal Damage is about someone who we know that went into an allotment patch and caused significant damage to the vegetables and property.

Just turned 18, two friends came back from a big night of drinking and decided to walk home via the allotment. They left a path of destruction and also left behind not only their driving licence but their passport too at the scene of the crime. The police picked them up the next day and arrested them for criminal damage.

The general meaning behind the song is that everyone makes mistakes and hopefully you learn from them and that shapes you to live a better life.

What is your writing process like? Do you start with lyrics and then come up with a melody or is it the other way round?

With this song, it was definitely melody first. I made an awful demo on logic using midi horns and then gave it to Isaac (trombone player) and he made the line his own. Then came the lyrics. I always find lyrics develop a lot quicker when talking about true events.

What bands were you listening to when you were writing this release? Do you think it had an effect on the end sound?

I think I was trying to focus on a big hook to begin with (brass line) which is repeating motif. I've always been a fan of The Cat Empire with their hooks and also Fat Freddys Drop. We definitely wanted the have a hefty bass sound and all round dubby vibe to the track.

What can you tell us about the album that the song has come from?

Our debut album 'Hello Welcome' released on 25th November.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

We recorded this single and the rest of the album in Karma Studios in Thailand. It was a pipe dream to begin with but after playing extensive shows and working really hard together we made the dream come true with no help from a label or management etc. We made a great record and an amazing memory that will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Do you have any shows coming up that we should get ourselves along to?

We have the rest of the mini tour and the a longer tour next year starting in April. Many more shows to be announced. November 18th - SOUTHAMPTON - The Attic 19th - EXETER - Bomba 25th - LONDON - The Magic Garden 2023 April 1st - Glastonbury - Red Brick Building 6th - Weston Super Mare - Birt Bar 7th - Penzance - The Acorn 14th - Guilford - Boileroom 15th - Salisbury - Brown Street 22nd - Manchester - Retro May 6th - Wooton Under Edge - Under The Edge Arts August 25th - Maui Waui Festival - Norfolk

Thanks for chatting to us today Laurie,

Check out The Barefoot Bandit on tour now.

The new album is released on 18th November.

Find the band online

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